Should numbers and strategy be mixed? Bet you must have asked this to yourself a zillion times before you decided on your management to concur and invest in your idea for new products/services while being equally apprehensive about the fact that if you fail to present the NPV calculations or some reasonable numbers in your plan, you may not land up with the investment.
It’s often seen that most strategic projects with long-term valuable implications are the ones that are impossible to quantify. Consider Intel and its microprocessors. When they were developing and investing in microprocessor in their initial days, they had no clue about its major application till IBM convinced them into believing that integrating them into their PCs could have a bright future.
Microprocessors wouldn’t have come up and Intel would never have been a success if it’s management insisted on numbers. Strategy deals with long-term issues and uncertainty. Hence, numbers are unreliable, misleading, and at times impossible to produce.
We are not suggesting that you should get rid of numbers completely while talking strategy. Going through such quantifying exercises can lead you to uncover and realize things that you haven’t comprehended before, but, once those calculations are worked out, you should keep them aside and make decisions based on judgement and experience.